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Read Me Dead

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Alexia Wheaton’s problems go beyond picking a dress and a date for homecoming.

For seven years, Alex has lived with a painful memory - her parents' horrific murder. As the sole witness, she has kept quiet to protect herself, but when the local newspaper reveals her secret, Alex is plagued with fear that her parents' murderer will soon find her - and silence her forever.

Alex is catapulted into a race against time to save her own life and bring her parents' murderer to justice.

First published April 19, 2012

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About the author

Emerald Barnes

21 books122 followers
Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.

​She’s also addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes.

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5 stars
24 (26%)
4 stars
31 (33%)
3 stars
23 (25%)
2 stars
11 (11%)
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3 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for Sandra "Jeanz".
1,155 reviews162 followers
April 23, 2012


What a brilliantly written book. I really hated to put it down. I loved the all characters. It is a complex tale, but things become much clearer as Alex opens up about her parent's murder to her brother Matty, ex boyfriend Christian and Landon. To say Alex has complicated relationships with Christian and Landon is an understatement. Alex believes anyone she becomes attached to will be killed, so she ends her relationship with Christian even though she is still deeply attached to him. Then Alex finds herself slipping into a relationship of more than just friendship with Landon, even though she knows it will put him in danger too. The man that killed Alex's parents is still out there somewhere and alex keeps getting the feeling she is being watched.Alex also has awful nightmares too. After opening up to Matty, Christian and Landon, Alex has mixed feelings about their pledge to always protect her.
Its really hard to tell you much more about the book without giving away any spoilers however tiny they may be I do not wish to spoil other enjoyment of this brilliant book.
I really felt drawn in and hooked on the story. Trying to guess the identity of the murderer. I did kind of guess but then there was yet another twist and turn, so was also surprised too.
I loved the close friendship of Alex with her twin brother Matty, even though it had its up and downs he is there when she needs him eventually. I also thought the characters of Christian and Landon were great, two great good looking guys who both love Alex, how will she choose?
I really liked how Emerald Barnes gave us the "two years later" section, of Alex married and about to have her first child.... You still find yourself asking the question is Alex safe? Then right at the very end there's a final little twist that leaves the way open for a book 2. Put it this way I hope there's a book 2, as it's on my wishlist now!
I think even though Emerald describes this as a YA novel I think it would appeal to adults, I am suggesting my mum (Ena who guest reviews for me)read it for an older persons point of view on the book too, and of course I am recommending it to my daughter (Rachel of Rai29BookReadNReview) as I feel she too would enjoy this story that has, suspense, tragedy, heartbreak, tears ,mixed with plenty of love too.
I also need to say that I think the cover really fits the book. I think the girl on the front of the book cover represents how dark, scared and alone Alex feels even when surrounded by people you can feel alone.
As for the title, I can't explain it now as it would give away a spoiler or two, but the title really fits the book. So please go buy the book! If I used a rating system this book would get top maximum marks. I really can't rave about this book enough. This book is well worth the money!
So did I like the book? Like! I Loved it Would I recommend this book?YES Would I read more of this series? Yes Please as soon as its ready! Would I read more by Emerald Barnes? Yes I Love her writing.
Profile Image for Eri Nelson.
Author 15 books113 followers
January 18, 2013
“Youthful Suspense”

Outside a few times in my life, I have for the most part steered free of YA books. Preferring the adult action packed tales that verge on steamy paranormals. However, as an author I have found myself in company of talented writers who write in the Young Adult arena. Therefore, with that in mind it would be no surprise that Read Me Dead by Emerald Barnes would peek my interest.

The title of this book spoke to me, so some time ago I downloaded it to me Kindle App. Having other reads at the time I had lost tracked of it and found myself detoured until just recently when I was tempted by its pages.

The tale establishes its presence with Alexia who is in my mind a rather frail individual. The teen seems to be reliant on those around her to function outside of her memories as well as never ending dreams of a tragic past. Personally, I found this hard to undertake in my reading and lost myself to yelling at the screen. To explain my meaning here, you must envision yourself watching a horror movie and the heroine trips and you find that you’re screaming for her to get up before she is killed (lol). The entire time (in this so-called movie moment of writable trips), I am hoping that she will find her inner strength to kick some butt. However, being young and not sure of herself or half of what she is truly feeling Alexia struggles for any form of balance. *In addition, I must state here… Bravo author for having me moved in such a way that I was conversing with my tablet.

Emerald Barnes has a bachelors in English and is very talented in creative writing. This particular YA novel, Read Me Dead, emphasizes that fact. If you are a YA enthusiast then please feel free to reach for this particular read. You will be surely entertained.
Profile Image for Gloria Antypowich.
Author 7 books42 followers
May 1, 2012
I really enjoyed “Read Me Dead” and I am a grandma, not a YA!

Emerald Barnes has crafted a compelling read: a thriller, murder, mystery, with a romantic triangle and betrayal by someone in a position of trust. This book grabbed my attention from the beginning and held my attention to the end. There were many twists and turns in the plot, and the main character experienced real trauma (physically and emotionally), not just the threat of it.

Emerald makes you feel the romantic conflicts of a teenage girl, compounded by her fear for her own life and the lives of those that she cares for. Alex’s emotional distress felt very real and I could understand how difficult it was for her to deal with everything that was hanging over her.

I enjoyed Barnes’s novella, “Piercing Through The Darkness” and it left me wanting to know ‘the rest of the story’. This time she has written a full length, satisfying novel and she still leaves you wondering.

I recommend this book to all ages. I read every genre and I enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for Tammy Hall.
401 reviews22 followers
November 26, 2012
s I sat on the edge of my seat waiting for what awaited around every corner with the turn of every page the thrill of suspense clung to every word in Read Me Dead. I found myself trying to figure out the "who done it" if you will with every new chapter. I could not put this book down it became an obsession of needing to know how the entire story played out and of course if any of my guesses of who the murderer was were even close to correct. Emerald Barnes did an amazing job of keeping me on the edge of my seat and she is an author that I will soon being reading more from as I so am enjoying her writing. I can honestly say she has made a fan out of me. I hope you will take a chance and let the suspense of Read Me Dead make a fan out of you as well.
Profile Image for Terry Tyler.
Author 27 books565 followers
August 13, 2016
Really well written. I think Emerald has a good writing future ahead of her
Profile Image for Kayleigh Grian.
23 reviews3 followers
June 11, 2012
*Disclaimer*: I did win a free copy of this book from the author during an event. This however did not influence my review in any way.

In her newest book Read Me Dead, Barnes gets the reader to ask themselves a tough question. If you knew a deadly secret, would you keep it, even if it meant a killer might go free? Alex has kept a secret from everyone, including her twin brother for 7 years, but soon the truth will have to come out. She was there the night her parents were murdered and has been haunted by the memories of that night. She’s been afraid the man who shot them would come back for her as he promised if she ever breaks her silence. In an attempt to keep him safe, Alex breaks up with her boyfriend even though she is still in love with him, and as an extra twist she soon becomes attracted to one of their best friends. The question is who will she pick and will they ever be safe?

I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of the book and once the action started I couldn’t wait to see what was going to come next. I wanted to know who the killer was and if Alex and her friends/family would all make it out without harm. Unfortunately I didn’t quite feel a connection with Alex as a character as much as I hoped I would. I’m not sure if it was the character or if it was the style the book was written in, but even though I wanted to know what happened to them, I wasn’t emotionally invested. The main character was a bit on the weak side throughout the majority of the book (granted I might have been too if I thought I was going to die at any moment) but for some reason I just couldn’t feel sympathetic towards her (or her incessant crying). I often felt that she went a bit overboard with the waterworks and that was a big turn off for me, though I’m sure there are many who don’t mind it.

The writing style was a tad over descriptive for me as well. It was almost like reading a script where it details step by step each action taking by each character. I know there are many who enjoy the large amounts of descriptions but I often found myself either getting lost in them or wanting to skip over them entirely. Again, it’s just not my cup of tea style wise. I still give it four stars however because the plot is there, and once things really got going about midway through the book I was hooked and couldn’t wait to read the ending (which was a complete surprise by the way). I’m glad I read it and was definitely worth taking the time to read it. I really did enjoy it, it just wasn’t a “new fav” novel for me.
Profile Image for Nancy.
Author 4 books21 followers
June 23, 2012
Although READ ME DEAD by Emerald Barnes is a suspenseful thriller for a YA audience, it will appeal to adult readers as well. READ ME DEAD explores what it means to keep a secret. When Alex Wheaton was ten, she witnessed her parents’ murder. Worse yet, she saw the killer, who threatened her life and warned her never to tell. When the novel opens, seven years have passed and Alex and her twin brother Matt now live with their aunt, uncle, and cousin. Alex wants nothing more than to be a normal teen, worrying about clothes, school, and boys.

But the secret weighs on her, tormenting her. When finally unburdens herself, sharing it with Matt, her ex-boyfriend, Christian, and their friend Landon, her confession is overheard by a local reporter. Alex’s story hits the newspaper, putting her life in danger as well as the lives of those around her. The murderer is still out there.

Alex life spirals out of control. School seems pointless. Her brother is hurt, devastated that Alex would hide this secret from him, and distances himself, so he feels like an acquaintance, and not her twin. Alex still loves her ex, Christian, but is worried for his safety. She tries to leave him, and enters a rebound relationship with Landon, leading to a complicated romantic triangle that has disastrous consequences. The ending is a surprise; guaranteed that you won’t see it coming.

Emerald Barnes does a great job building and holding the suspense. You’ll want to keep reading until the surprise ending. You might even forget the other things you were supposed to be doing!
Profile Image for Gina's Library.
475 reviews9 followers
April 27, 2012
I reveiwed this book for the author. This is a great murder mystery book.

Alex is the only witness to her parents brutal murder. She knows how to identify the killer, and the killer knows who she is and how to find her. He warned her to stay quiet.

Alex has kept that secret to herself all these years. When she finally tells part of the secret to her twin brother and their 2 best friends, unfortunately a reporter over hears and prints a story about it. Suddenly the killer knows that she is talking about what he knows and is coming after her.

While Alex is dealing with that emotional roller coaster, she is also dealing with an emotional roller coaster of another kind. Alex is a teenage girl after all. She is caught in a love triangle with her 2 best friends. She loves them both but is torn over who to be with, if anyone.

I figured out in the middle who the killer was. However, there was a twist that I did not see. To me that is the definition of a good book. I love when there is a twist you didn't see coming.

I wonder if the author is going to write a second book as a follow up with them all. I'd love to read that if she does.
Profile Image for Two Nerds With Words.
926 reviews53 followers
March 3, 2013
Reviewer: Justine
Rating: 4 out of 5 Fairies

Read Me Dead by Emerald Barnes had me crying rivers! Emerald was super sneaky, giving us a sleeper story. Starting slowly, then reeling you in with an almighty love triangle, and finally the peak of ripping your heart out halfway through.

Emerald Barnes starts us out slowly until we reach chapter 3 or 4. By chapter 15, I was well and truly hooked and at chapter 26 or 27, she tears my heart out. I cried for two hrs! (I’m hormonal, but still!) Damn YA reads have been, as Bex would say, “Bloody Amazing” lately!

That leaves us with the ending, and oh what and ending it was! This ending is most definitely ‘Justine approved’, and she even left a squeak of an opening for a second book. Although to be honest, the ending was so wonderful, I don’t think a second is even needed.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided to Bex 'n' Books for free by the author in exchange for an HONEST and not necessarily positive review.
August 24, 2012
This was a interesting story that I was drawn into immediately. It had just the right amount of mystery/suspense and romantic conflict that I like. Alex saw her parents murder when she was 10 years old and 7 years later she till has nightmares and struggles with the fact that she might die if the killer finds out she talked about it. I enjoyed it and I think that I would check out another story from Emerald Barnes in the future. Review found here: http://lifeasabookaddict.blogspot.com...
Profile Image for G.R..
3 reviews1 follower
April 8, 2013
‘Read Me Dead‘ by the young author, Emerald Barnes, is a book that’s completely out of my normal genre set… and I enjoyed the heck out of it!

In ‘Read Me Dead‘, Emerald Barnes proves her ability in weaving the triumphs and heartache of teenage romance into a story about a terrifying fight with life, death and chipped fingernail polish.

The characters and interactions are vivid and the plot twists are not in short supply. A fun read for everyone – male or female, young adult or old fart (like me).

I’m looking forward to more from Emerald Barnes!
Profile Image for Carlyle Labuschagne.
Author 24 books854 followers
July 2, 2015
Good writing with strong characters, you will come to care for. If you are looking for light suspense and a good measure of mystery then this is a read for you. There were times when the love triangle was a bit much but I had to remind myself what I was like as a teenager, and I couldn't imagine her internal conflict with all that was going on she needed to keep those she loved safe and being human she also needed to be loved and feel lonely. The end was not expected, that there for me gives it another star quality!
Profile Image for Tammy.
124 reviews
June 15, 2013
Read Me Dead is a heart stopping book of murder and mystery. Alex just wishes that she could go back to before the night her parents were shot dead right in front of her when she was 10 years old. Now at 17, she is scared the murderer has come back to kill her. When she begins to uncover more details about the murderer, she begins to put herself and her loved ones in danger. Can Alex find justice before anyone else gets hurt?
Profile Image for Pauline Creeden.
Author 86 books578 followers
March 12, 2013
Suspenseful and anxiety producing YA read with a clever, contemporary premise. It's not very often that a YA read with no speculative element comes along and keeps my attention. The author is adept at bringing out the emotion in the characters as well as the reader. The intense love triangle was a sticky point, as the protagonist's indecision was a point of annoyance for me.
Profile Image for Sylvia Stein.
Author 18 books33 followers
September 27, 2012
I loved this book- Emerald Barnes is a great story teller and her characters are phenomenal- I loved experiencing all the emotions of this book! Wow a must read!
Profile Image for Jodi.
220 reviews59 followers
June 25, 2012
Not bad for a YA read especially given that there's nary a vampire in sight.

Alexa Wheaton is a troubled girl. When she was a child she witnessed the murder of her parents and knows the identity of the killer. She also knows he saw her. As a result, she has been afraid for the ten years since the murder that the killer is coming for her next.

In all the time since the murder Alex hasn’t told the authorities she knows who the killer is as a way of protecting her twin brother Matt, her Aunt Marion and her Uncle Dave. After a frightening experience Alexa finally shares her secret with her brother and friends Christian and Landon. During the telling of the story, a reporter eavesdrops getting the scoop on what he considers a great story, and publishes it without consent. This puts Alexa firmly in the sights of the killer and she knows it will be a matter of time before he kills her.

Alexa soon enlists the support of Christian and Landon, best friends and rivals for her attention. As the boys duke it out over Alexa, the killer gets closer and attempts are made to silence her, resulting in tragedy.

My thoughts

There is some good back story and the author made every attempt to throw the suspicion of the murderer in several directions however, I easily surmised who the killer was as soon as the character was introduced into the story.

I found the writing repetitive and the plot drawn out, with more focus on the turmoil between Christian and Landon due to love triangle with Alexa, not further developing the effects and terror surrounding the murder and its ramifications for the protagonist.

Alexa's character is weak relying on others support; always crying and breaking down. The story would be more engaging if she were to become stronger in her determination to bring the killer to justice. I found myself unable to connect with Alexa which is sad because she is crying out to the reader for sympathy.

I gave the read 3 stars as I felt it could have been written in a more flowing style instead of it being choppy and over descriptive of points that didn't need as much attention to tell the story. Bottom line is the book didn't grab me or hold my interest. I found myself putting it down often. I didn't have the urge to dive into the story and read until the wee hours of the morning.

The read is definitely a YA novel geared toward teenage girls.
Profile Image for Denise.
335 reviews96 followers
September 2, 2013
Read Me Dead was an emotionally painful and heartbreaking read that chronicled the posttraumatic stress suffered by Alexia who at the age of ten witnessed her parents murder. She has lived for seven years in fear remembering the words of the killer that if she told anyone what she saw she would die and has to live with the consequences of the reactions of those around her when they find out what is really wrong with her. It is interesting what a 10-year-old's mind will do with such an ultimatum and how this trauma affects everything she does. She pushes away those to matter to her in fear of the consequences of them getting close to her. Her fear is paralyzing and while at times I wanted to shake her for her decision making, in reality I don't know how unrealistic her behaviors really are. I enjoyed this book and while it was not filled with sweetness and light, it kept me riveted to my reader needing to know what would happen next. While there were suspicions throughout the read with me feeling certain I knew whodunit from the hints scattered throughout, there was a surprising hook that blindsided me. I enjoyed the author's writing style and look forward reading more of her work. I won this book in a book blog giveaway.
Profile Image for Sheila.
Author 78 books181 followers
December 2, 2013
A story so firmly set in the present day it even names the drugs prescribed to a girl who’s afraid to sleep, Emerald Barnes’ Read me Dead ratchets up the scares from strange noises at night to terrifying attacks with murderous intent.

The protagonist has grown from immature ten-year-old, coloring under her father’s desk, to uncertain teenager, keeping secrets like a child while seeking love like an adult. Soon those secrets seem certain to threaten her life, and Alex’s “favorite meal. Mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and fried chicken fingers” probably won’t help.

Prayers don’t seem to help much either, but it’s no surprise when Alex finds herself compelled to turn to prayer. Sadly, she doesn’t learn to trust, or to reveal her secrets, even when the reader has guessed what’s going to happen. But she’s a teen, and this story is told in the convincing voice of a teen, with carefully analyzed feelings, stubbornly held secrets, and that mix of caution and folly that leads to disaster.

By turns scary and frustrating, Read me Dead reads like a teen movie trending toward horror without quite letting go of the real.

Disclosure: I was lucky enough to get a free ecopy and I’m offering my honest review.
Profile Image for Tena Clifford.
21 reviews10 followers
February 13, 2013
Have you ever read a book and it makes you so angry..... Well this book did that for me .... I felt like I have wasted my time reading this and I'll never get that time back! It has been one of the worse books that I have read in a long time it was plain drivel... It was very hard to get into from the very beginning but once I start a book I like to finish and I really could have gone on living without reading this, it was like a little kid had written this book it just kept repeating itself over and over and over and over and over ... It wasn't so bad because I guessed right away who the killer was but there was no depth to this story at all.. Boring all the way thru! )-:
Profile Image for Dariel Raye.
Author 50 books297 followers
July 20, 2012
Seven years ago, Alex Wheaton witnessed the murder of her parents. She was 10, and the murderer threatened to kill her if she told. Haunted by terrifying nightmares and debilitating memories during her senior year in high school, Alex turns to two male friends, Christian and Landon, for comfort. Both of them have romantic interest in her. Her constant volleying between them causes problems in their friendship as they vie for her attention, and eventually has disastrous results...http://darkparanormalromanceseries.co...
Profile Image for Paula Ratcliffe.
1,311 reviews69 followers
December 8, 2013
This book follows the life of Matty and Alexia Wheaton who had their lives turned upside down when their parents were murdered. Alexia saw who killed her parents but is hiding the information for fear of her safety.

As time goes on Alex figures out that the murderer is out to silence her forever. She tries her best to handle what is happening without putting her ex-boyfriend Christian or their best friend Landon from harm.

For more read here: http://communitybookstop.blogspot.com...
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jessica Ridgeway.
15 reviews6 followers
January 27, 2013
This book had a lot of potential. At times it felt very repetitive. Poor Landon spent most of the book handing Alex a bottle of water. The plot was interesting albeit it's definitely a young adult book. the ending left me wondering if there would be a sequel or not. Who knows.
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